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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!

I managed to pick up either a very bad cold or the flu to celebrate the end of 2006 and spent most of today in bed. Elcie seems to have it too but everyone else is okay and I probably will be by tomorrow.

She and I went to see Carol yesterday and then to lunch. By the time we got home, all I could do is crawl into bed. Today my friend took the girls for a while which helped and Ray has been a real trooper.

They received one more Christmas present in the mail. An "anonymous" Canadian friend sent them each a t-shirt and hat emblazoned with maple leaves (leafs?). They love them. I already emailed her but thank you anonymous friend.

I bought 2 bottles of Martinelli's sparkling cider yesterday and some fancy plastic champagne glasses in anticipation of the New Year's celebration. Now let's see if any of us stay awake that long. The girls like it because it bubbles and looks so festive. We'll have a toast at midnight and perhaps I can remember to take a picture.

Thanks to all of you who visited the Ceran Memorial page. I noticed several familiar names and I'm sure the family appreciates your kindness as do I.

And thanks for being my loyal friends this past year. I love hearing from all of you and reading about your lives. May 2007 bring you happiness, love, and peace.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Sad Christmas Season for a Friend's Family.

I have some Christmas posts below this one but I wanted to put this out here immediately.

A blogging friend who wishes to remain anonymous emailed me today.

Her brother-in-law, wife, and five children were on their way home from a Christmas performance in Utah County, Utah when their car was struck by a drunken driver who ran a red light.

The mother and two of the children were killed and a third badly injured but appears to be recovering.

"Pat" sent me a link to a memorial page for the family and asked me to post it. Of course I will. The first thing I did though was leave a comment of my own.

She'd be grateful to anyone who leaves a note of condolence to the family. She asked that you not refer back to her by her blogger name or her url. I'm not including it here of course but we may share some readers.

I read enough to know the family is deeply devout and loved in their community. I pray their faith will sustain them.

Here is the link to the Memorial Page.

Thanks, everyone.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Two Posts of Pictures Below

I have given up on tring to write a post and do pictures at the same time. Obviously there's something I'm missing. Hope you know the girls well enough by now to figure out who is who.

Elcie is the oldest - short, brown, very curly hair. Then Rochelle, the brown-eyed brunette. Last but certainly not least - just ask her - Rebecca of the blue eyes and pony tail. Of course there are a couple of pictures taken before hair combing. That's what they look like most mornings - especially Rebecca.

We had a very good Christmas. Most of the girls' packages were indeed clothes which was what they needed most. They are now outfitted from top to bottom and from inside (including panties and socks) out. Everything fit and my friends have a great sense of what kids are wearing these days.

Jim, Melissa, and Tim all made it for dinner and then went to a movie together. I have lots of leftovers but we'll make use of them.

Ray and I went to see Carol today. She was in good spirits and likes the facility. We took her samples of Christmas dinner since she's now allowed to eat whatever she's able to and that's what she asked for. She had asked for shampoo, etc. so we picked up those things as well. The facility provides most things but I thought she could use a little pampering.

She's able to go out with us still so we took her down to the store so she could pick out a couple of things for herself.

They seem to like her so unless something changes, I won't push to have her moved back here. They're doing a good job, the lines of communication have improved, and I can make the drive as long as I don't have to do it every day and the weather is decent. If she wants to be closer to home, she can let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Ray's birthday was on the 26th and it almost always falls through the cracks. I was too tired to do much of anything on Tuesday or Wednesday (never got out of the house) so today we stopped for dinner, just the two of us, on the way home. We don't do it often anymore and it was nice to be able to celebrate his birthday, even a couple of days late. Between my friend and the girls' mom, the girls were fine.

My friend Dawn's husband's birthday is the same day. She baked enough cake for both and sent us half of it. We were supposed to go there but it was cold and damp so I begged off.

And now it's after 11:00 and probably time for sleep.

Thanks to all of you for the comments. We're all doing okay, at least for now.

More Pictures In No Particular Order 12-25-06

Three new pairs of shoes. Only 2-1/2 pairs are visible. That's Rebecca showing off.

Elcie opening present. Rebecca cooking sweet potatoes.

I will never figure out how to do this. That's Rochelle looking sad - I don't know why - and I'm sure you can figure the rest out.

Elcie lying on couch laughing and Rochelle in camo also laughing.

More shots of girls showing off wardrobe and one more of Rebecca cooking. She's such a help.

I'll be back with an actual post.

Christmas 2005

I didn't get these on last year but it's never too late. That's son Jim with his three older kids (l to r) Michael, Jim, Samantha, and another Jim.

I included the extra picture of Samantha because she looked so beautiful. She was 16 then, 17 now and a high school senior. Where does the time go?

I'll be back with this year's Christmas. Found these because Rochelle had located the group shot and used it on my desktop.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald R. Ford - July 14, 1913 - December 26,2006

I'll be back tonight or tomorrow with holiday pictures. It would have been today but I woke up to this not unexpected news this morning.

President Ford was an honorable, decent man with a long history of service to our country. He tried, under difficult conditions, to pull the nation together and I believe history will reflect that in many respects he succeeded.

Elcie and I had a long talk about him and the Presidency this morning. Of course I remember all of it only too well.

He loved his country and his family and it showed. My prayers today are with his family.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Heifer International

I wrote a post last year about Heifer International and the work that they do. My girls and I have been part of their support system through our church for several years now. Last year the girls made a field trip to the local Heifer Int'l farm to select the animals they had purchased by donating their nickels, dimes and quarters.

So, I'm putting the word out once again for your information. In addition, Blogging Baby has its own post today with a link to a Heifer International Blogging Campaign.

I can't put in that much time this year, but I'm letting you know if you'd like to add it to your sidebar.

We've begun our cooking and other countdowns to Christmas. The girls are shaking packages but not too hard. The breakable ones will not go under the tree until they're asleep on Christmas Eve.

I've already taken a few pictures and there will be more to come. I may post them all as a set the day after Christmas.

Two of my friends here belong to a sports group. Instead of giving each other presents, they choose a family and play Santa. My friend asked if I'd be offended. No, I wouldn't be - I've had better years in many ways.

(Pause while I go peel and devil many eggs; some for the church, some for here.)

I'm back. Anyhow, I expected maybe a couple packages each for the girls. Wrong. They unloaded something that looked like Santa's sleigh converted to the back of a van with the seats out. I took a picture of the tree with the presents under it and will add it here if Blogger will cooperate. . Since I wrote that, the girls decided to sort and count so we have one picture of the tree as the presents were originally placed and three showing three separate stacks. I thought their next step would be to find a tape measure and check the heights of the piles. Aagh!! I had to reinstall Kodak which took a while but it's finally behaving properly, at least for now.

We see so much evil on the front pages that sometimes we forget that most people are kind, decent, and loving. I was just blown away and could hardly hold back the tears as I hugged those 3 wonderful women.

I saw Carol this morning. She'll be in the hospital until at least Tuesday and then back to the care facility. The hospital may be a better place to spend Christmas. I took Rebecca this trip (with some Christmas gifts) and next time will take Elcie.

We straightened out most of the confusion surrounding her surgery and treatment. Basically it resulted from all the care providers failing to talk to each other and none of them talking to me. No harm done and nothing has changed either for better or worse.

On the way back we stopped at Barnes & Noble and ran into my son Jim in the parking lot just as we were leaving. He'd just made it in from El Centro on a 4 day pass. Don't know how he swung it but I'm so happy he did. He'll have to drive back the day after Christmas but at least he's here now.

While I was out, Ray made the pumpkin pies. I'll do the pecan early tomorrow morning and then prepare the double batches of the other dishes. Bake one set for the church, refrigerate the other until Monday morning. I'll take a tray of deviled eggs and at least one pie as well. We'll have a fair size crowd so we're bringing a lot of food.

And now I'm sitting with Ray watching the Brigham Young University Christmas program. They have their very own t.v. channel. We currently have some Hebrides (New Hebrides?) I'm not sure which it said but it's very Scot sounding and appearing with kilts and all.

I started this as just some info about Heifer International and look how it ended up. Typical Ann - never knowing how to end a post.

Take care everyone and have a great holiday.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Online snowflakes can be great fun and addictive as well.

This site will make a donation to the Salvation Army for ever flake created. It's free so you might want to check it out and have some fun designing a snowflake unique to you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

For Tammy (and everyone else of course)

Tammy (Kentucky Gal) has asked her visitors to write a post about peace. No problem, Tammy. I think about it a lot and even more in this season.

From Isaiah Ch. 4, V. 2

KJV: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

And wouldn't that be something to see!!

It's Thursday here, Christmas is on Monday. Ray came home from the hospital today. Carol is in the hospital in Turlock but seems to be keeping up her spirits. They decided on some relatively minor surgery after all and it seems to be helping, at least termporarily. She'd been a great deal of pain before that. I talk to her every day at least 3 or 4 times but I've been sick myself for a couple of days and haven't made the trip this week. I have presents for her but I'd rather deliver them to the care facility than to the hospital so I'm waiting a bit.

The girls are off school for the next 17 days. All of Christmas and New Year's week plus tomorrow. My goal - to have the younger two memorize all their times tables. And, with three hormonal girls, peace in my own household as well.

We'd hoped my older son Jim, now on the border with the Guard, would make it home for Christmas. It's not going to happen. They're too short of sergeants at the moment. I'm glad he's so well regarded but I'd rather have him home. He may get a little time off right after Christmas - 4 days, two of which will be spent driving. I offered to postpone Christmas dinner but he says he loves leftovers. Sounds like a replay of Thanksgiving doesn't it.

Jonathan is growing so fast and learning new things every day. Babies are awesome.

I have almost all of my Christmas shopping done. The girls will have a good Christmas but we never go overboard and wouldn't even if we could.

I still have a couple of things to pick up but I can do that at the local grocery store. My friend Dawn has the presents and stocking fillers. We have a deal. I buy enough Christmas candy to include her daughter and she sorts it all for me and wraps the presents. Except for one which is at Tim's because he helped me pick it out.

We're having a Christmas Eve potluck at the church followed by a service of carols. We invite the entire community with a special invitation to the Mission here. There are always organizations providing a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal but Christmas Eve can be a very lonely time. So I've doing my Christmas prep the day before and making a double batch of sweet potato souffle and either green bean casserole or dressing (maybe both). It's as easy to make twice as much and I can bake one and put the others in the fridge for the next day. Should work.

I finally broke down and bought them a Play Station II. They hadn't nagged for one but I know they'll enjoy it and I can treat it like I do the t.v. Just control time and content. I'm sure Rochelle and Rebecca will use it more so Elcie will have a replacement for her defunct dvd/vcr player, and I picked up an inexpensive radio/cd/cassette player recorder. Theirs has been toast for several years now.

Other than stocking fillers, that's it from us. They have clothes from their Grandma Nancy in San Francisco and some gifts from some of my friends already under the tree.

And I bought a new coffee pot. My old one joined my old microwave. Turned it on yesterday and nothing - absolutely nothing. At least they're cheap. I have an old 40 cup top of stove drip pot that we used when I had many more people all drinking coffee but it's overkill and pouring water into it has become more of a challenge.

Do we all shrink as we age? I certainly have. Cupboards that I could reach not so long ago require a step stool now.

Sorry I've been lax the past few days. Between busy and spending almost two entire days in bed while the girls were at school, not much was accomplished on the internet. I was sick enough to cancel my weekly coffee date. Now that's sick. We're trying for tomorrow if all goes well.

Thanks to all for the comments. I leave you with my wishes for a joyous holiday season, and my Christmas greeting to all. I hope the link works better than the last one I tried.

Of course I might get back between now and then. I never know until I sit down and start typing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Six Weird Things (Recycled One More Time)

Since someone asked (hi, blogger formerly known as) back by popular demand is my six seven weird things.

Click on the link.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tagged Again

Jen just tagged me for this one.

The last time I did this the closest book was "Windows for Dummies" or something like that. This time is was my Kodak instruction booklet. Surely that's not what they had in mind.

Sue Grafton
S is for Silence (I'm rereading it now)

I let the silence extend, wondering what he'd offer by was of filling it in. I was just about to get antsy and jump into the breech myself when he spoke up. "Here's something I never told anyone about Violet."

I don't usually tag people but Bacchus just tagged me for 6 weird things - one more time. It's back in my archives somewhere and it anyone is interested, I'll dig it back out and recycle.

So, Bacchus, you and anyone else who hasn't done it and would like to try:

Pick up the book closest to you
Go to page 123
Go down 5 lines
Enter the next three sentences.


In other news, not much has changed. I'm going to try to post about more cheerful subjects for the time being. It takes my mind away from what's going on with me. A friend (Hi Ginny) wondered about blogging. The answer - this is my support and a lifeline to the world. As long as I can do it, I probably will.

Some people crochet, some people go bowling, I blog, read blogs, and answer comments.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time Magazine Person of the Year

That would be you and you and even granny.

Yep, it's the bloggers. Who woulda thunk it.

And here, from Gina at Just Another Day is a lovely, forgiving, all purpose scone recipe.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Chanukah - December 26, 2006

The 10 days leading up to this celebration have special meaning to my Jewish friends.

Happy Chanukah everyone. May the oil in your vessels never run dry.

Beethoven Day and a Plug for an Online Benefit Auction

Today is the official celebration of Beethoven's (the composer, not the dog) birthday.

Wikki says: Beethoven was baptized on December 17, but his family and later teacher Johann Albrechtsberger celebrated his birthday on December 16. Happy Birthday, Ludwig.

Anyhow, here is a greeting card for you. It's supposed to be playing a small part of the 6th (Pastoral) Symphony but I'm not sure if you can hear it. I could hear it on the Amer. Greetings site but not when I sent it to myself. Strange. Maybe you'll have better luck.

The last time I looked, I had seven little girls in the living room watching Over the Hedge and moving on to the new Pirates of The Caribbean (Dead Man's Chest). We (Elcie and Rebecca) went to Blockbuster today, then a little shopping, to Barnes & Noble for lunch, and then back home. They're doing fine; I need a nap.

I didn't abandon Rochelle; she chose to hang out at her friends' house (same girls who are now here) until I returned.

Elcie was given a free video rental by one of the school cafeteria workers. She (Elcie) helps with a special day class and one of her jobs is to escort them to lunch. She takes it very seriously.

First time I've been in the store in ages. They had to put my card back in their system because we do online rental.

I'll get over to see Ray a little later when I have someone to stay with the girls. Last I heard, he was doing okay and I've talked to Carol twice since I saw her yesterday. I'll get back there probably on Tuesday.

And now I need to make sure they're not shaving eyebrows in the bathroom.

I've been intending to link to this site for days now and keep forgetting to go back and find it.

Briefly, it's an online auction to benefit Muscular Dystrophy. I won't try to paraphrase it. It's absolutely legitimate and quite personal to the sponsors who have a young family member who has contracted one of the most serious forms of MD.

Take care everyone.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bet You've Never Heard It Sung Quite This Way

From Mary P. who lives in Ontario, Canada and writes It's Not All Mary Poppins.

As you may have guessed, Mary is a day care provider. The George and Darcy she refers to are two of the brood she was caring for last year. Every once in a while she regales us with some their past doings.

Here, for your pleasure, is The Twelve Nine Days of Christmas as performed by George and Darcy.

To Ginny (partly) - Updated - see last link

And anyone else who wonders.

Here is what google says about a "meme". Somehow the blogging world picked it up and made it their own. Who knows why? Not I.

It's something like a chain letter on a blog. We do one (usually stolen from someone else) and hope other people pick it up and do it too. Some people "tag" which means they list a few people to do the "meme" on their own blogs. I don't do that; I just invite everyone.

They can be very short and funny or long and involved. The "elf" a few posts down is a "meme" of sorts.

She also said the sweet potatoes should be a dessert. They don't miss it by much but then how could I rationalize the pumpkin, apple, cherry, and Karo pecan pies?

Ginny, sure wish you had a blog. Otherwise I'll have to keep cluttering up the BB comment boxes answering you. (lol)

Hugs right back.

Carol is settled in in Turlock and Ray is doing okay. My friend David took me first shopping for a few things for Carol (purple fuzzy slippers to go with her purple robe) and then to Turlock where I signed more of the same papers I'd already signed. Still more to go - maybe next week.

Then he took me to lunch at a place called Red Robin. Anyone else know that one? It was a little on the noisy side when we first came in but we were in the back and got used to it quickly. They have an extensive hamburger menu, salads, and some very good fish & chips (which I had).

I came back here and fell asleep for two hours.

Thanks to all for the comments and glad you're enjoying the meme. I'm going to turn on some Christmas music and relax for a while.

Have a good weekend everyone.

P. S.

Peter in Australia has written an informative post on Beta blogger. It seems the commenting problem (the most recent one) is a Blogger problem and they're trying to fix it - again. I'm not having any problems commenting on the Beta blogs but many others have. I'm including the link here because more than one person has mentioned the commenting problem to me. Boy, are they asking the wrong person for technical assistance!!

I haven't switched over yet. I said once before that I am a "team blog" which means more than one person is listed as a "contributor". Alice and Tim post from time to time; Jen and Andrea help me with some the technical things. Angela had to drop off so she could switch to Beta. I've heard this will change shortly and teams will be allowed to join.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Meme

I was just over reading a friend's blog. She was talking about going through the motions of Christmas without the spirit. I heard her loud and clear.

Then I skipped over to Candace at Suburban Misfit and there was this meme once again. I took it as a sign that I should stop procrastinating and put it on here.

Sure enough, I feel better. It was fun casting back through the years of memories. It's been making the rounds for a while but it's still not too late for anyone to give it a whirl.

I copied it and pasted it. I'm not messing with her fonts so some of this will be bold, some italic, and some will surprise me as well as you.

Horizon in Scotland has an idea for displaying Christmas cards I hadn't seen before.

And now, finally, the meme.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Egg nog or better yet - egg nog latte from Barnes & Noble

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa dumps them mostly in gift bags and combines the stockings into one decorated box. He knows the girls can count oranges and pieces of candy. Such wrapping as Santa is forced to do is rather on the sloppy side. He's tired by the time he gets to our house.

3. Colored lights or white lights on tree/house? Colored because the girls love glitz. Left to myself, I love all blue. Who am I kidding? I love glitz too.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? The fake variety. In the kitchen doorway.

5. When do you put up your decorations? I finally got them up this weekend, a little later than usual.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Probably my sweet potato souffle (casserole?) with marshmallows. Or anything cooked by someone else. We're having our second annual Christmas eve potluck at the church. I'll report back on new favorites then.

7. Favorite childhood holiday memory: Waking up to Christmas morning and all those packages. What was inside them wasn't as important. It was the fascination of all that gift wrap, ribbons, and bows. My mom was a talented gift wrapper who did not pass it on to me. And dinner on the farm with a second Christmas. We always had two.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember. We put out cookies and milk for Santa but it wasn't a big production. I must have gradually outgrown him just as the girls are doing now. I don't remember feeling betrayed though.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When we got older we did. I can't remember exactly but probably when I was at least 11. The girls open one small one now.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Lights, ornaments. tinsel. I don't decorate it; the girls do and they believe the old adage that more is more.

11. Snow: love it or dread it? If I wanted snow I would have stayed in upstate New York. The snow globe on my bookcase is all the snow I need, thank you.

12. Can you ice skate? Once upon a time. My dad froze our side yard for us and all the neighbors every year. It wasn't skating that was the problem, it was stopping without running into something.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Probably either the dollhouse my dad built or the guitar that my great-uncle did. I'm not sure now if they were Christmas, birthday, or just because (no occasion). Oh, and two of my aunts gave me one piece of sterling silver (Towle Silver Flutes) each for birthday and Christmas. I was up to about 6 spoons and 3 forks when they suddenly stopped. They told me years later when I asked that they were afraid I'd be bored. I wasn't. It was open stock for a long time and I was tempted to complete at least a service for 6 but never did.

14. What's the most important thing to you about the holidays? I almost forgot and swiped Candace's answer (which was wonderful - she loves all of it). However, this passage from Isaiah says it, especially the Prince of Peace:

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV) - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Karo Pecan pie.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Watching the girls decorate and then cook while keeping my mouth firmly shut. Of course having all of us gather isn't bad either but we do more of that at Thanksgiving.

17. What tops your tree? Oops. Thanks for reminding me. Sometimes a star, sometimes an angel. Sometimes both if the girls can't decide.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving gifts? I love watching the kids but I enjoy opening something they've selected. We don't do gifts between adults although I've thought about doing the draw names thing.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? I'm torn between * Il est Ne and **Gesu Bambino. I love all the traditional carols too, sung traditionally. And "Little Drummer Boy" (Harry Simeon Chorale). And "Do You Hear What I Hear" (Andy Williams). I can remember when those last two were new.

* I like this better in French but the English is okay too. Not that I speak French but it sounds so much more appropriate for this song. I go around humming it because it's so catchy. I've heard it done with bagpipes as well.

**It took me a while but I finally found lyrics in Italian and English. Pavarotti's recording is beautiful. However, the link features a 1926 recording by a tenor named Martinelli. Beautiful and if it works on my computer it should on yours. It can be my early Christmas greeting to you.

Update: I'm working my way through the entire listing on the link. All worth listening to for any of you interested in the tenors of that early era. My all time favorite, Jussi Bjoerling, sings O Holy Night (in Swedish), another does Silent Night in French. Comfort Ye My People from The Messiah (in English) and one spiritual which I hadn't heard before.

The sound quality is quite good considering the age of the recordings.

I saved them to Music Match but I imagine anything would work.

Today - Updated

Carol had a bit of minor surgery to make her more comfortable and has been transported to the care facility. According the hospital it's temporary; Merced had no beds. When one becomes available, she'll be moved back here.

She seemed in good spirits about it. I went over with the girls' mom and Rochelle shortly before she left. She was glad to see Rochelle. I hadn't taken any of the girls before this but Carol has had some longer periods of alertness lately so it made sense. I'll go to to Turlock tomorrow and complete all the admission procedures. It was almost dark when she left and the facility said tomorrow was soon enough. Carol was fine with that. If it had been local I would have met her there and stayed until she was settled.

My friend that meets me for coffee each Tuesday will be driving. Not that I can't but I'd especially like the company on this trip.

Let's see, what else? Ray went back to the hospital this afternoon shortly after I returned from visiting Carol. I'd been expecting it and was actually a little relieved. I knew he wasn't feeling well but had dug in his heels about leaving me. His doctor convinced him.

I have friends here and we will manage. People are already helping.

Elcie is in bed. She brought the computer home again and is having a great time with her "homework". She has it down pat. She quite often makes an earlier night of it than Rochelle and Rebecca but she's usually up long before the rooster crows. She enjoys the early morning quiet as much as I but once she's awake it's no longer early morning quiet for me. The other two are listening to music in the living room; just a little too loud.

There have been some bright spots in the week. I went to a meeting/Christmas party earlier this week and reconnected with a friend I hadn't seen in around 20 years. I knew he'd be there and wondered if he'd remember me. After a brief hesitation (we both look a little older) he did and we had a wonderful time reminiscing about life in San Francisco and our associations there. His wife was along as well and she and I hit if off.

And Rebecca just brought me half of a homemade cheesburger on wheat bread. What more could I ask? If I were a less trusting person, I'd wonder what she wants. Probably just had more cheeseburger than tummy.

Thanks for hanging in with me everyone and take care.

Short Update

Sorry everyone. I've been busy and falling asleep early. And waiting until I had something to say.

It looks now like Carol will be transferred to a care facility today. We were supposed to hear something last Monday and word finally came through yesterday. It's 25 miles from here. Today I'll try to find out why since Merced has several facilities and the town next to us has one (the largest in this area).

There is no way I can make that round trip every day and I don't know what they were thinking. She still doesn't know about it or I don't think she does. She hasn't said anything and she's been quite confused. Sometimes she thinks she's coming back here and sometimes she remembers.

I may know more later today.

Other than that, not much out of the ordinary around here. The two younger girls cut school for the first time ever last week. Too complicated to explain but they didn't get away with it. They now know the school calls the parents. They spent the day at a friend's house goofing off.

Elcie brought her Dell laptop home from school yesterday with the new voice recognition installed. The teacher wanted her to practice. I've heard some people have problems with voice recognition but she's doing just fine.

The computer is hers; purchased by the school district, but her typing skills could stand some improvement - a lot of improvement. I still want her to learn to type but this should help with anything that requires more than a paragraph or two of writing.

And we're slowly preparing for Christmas as we would any other year. My body is going through the motions while my mind and heart aren't quite here yet. I have the girls' stocking fillers hidden at my friend's house (did that yesterday).

The girls are doing okay I think. I haven't taken them to see her yet but they talk on the phone to her or at least Elcie and Rebecca do. Rochelle doesn't want to and I'm not pushing her just yet.

It's almost 6:30 and I have to have Elcie on the bus at 6:55 immediately after which I drive the other two to the bus stop.

Thanks to everyone who comments. I'll try to update when I can or Tim will.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Melissa and Jonathan Revisited

Hello everyone ! Nothing new in the world of Coffee to speak of. I was lucky enough to get a visit from my sainted Mother but alas too busy to give her the attention she deserved. Hopefully this picture of Melissa shows up better than the one I sent Mom. I have control issues what can I say. warm and fuzzy feelings to everyone!


Silly Cats, Sillier Rebecca, Melissa & Jonathan

That's Moonbeam and Princess wrapped around each other like snakes. Moonbeam is draped over Rebecca's head (front and back view) and Spunky is under the tree. She's the only one I trust there but so far the others haven't paid too much attention. Dipstick is around somewhere being camera shy.

Most normal people would tell the child to get that cat's butt out of her face. Being a blogger however, I race for the camera first.

I've had Jonathan's latest picture in my mailbox for a few days and kept forgetting to post it (along with his mommy of course. Can't forget Melissa). He is growing so darn fast!!

Tim just called and says he's going to try to post a larger picture of Jonathan from his original. We'll see what happens.

I have no idea why the text is overwriting the photo although Tim says it's not from what he can see.

More pictures and a short (for me) post below.

Pictures In No Particular Order

Not much different than 2005. You can probably distinguish between a mantle (**mantel?), piano, bookcase and a tree from the inside and the outside so I won't label these.

**It seems to be one of those words with optional spelling. I looked it up and found both versions. Maybe another difference between American and British English?

I think I caught the reflection from the flash in the tree. Oh well. That green thing is a small electric tree from the 99¢ store that Rebecca fell in love with. Girl after my own heart. The thing that looks like a trophy is. It's one of Elcie's from her "games" each year from 3 years old through 5th grade. It's our local version of the Special Olympics. The others are there but not as visible.

We've been trying for something resembling normal. We put the fake tree up (untrimmed except for lights) last night and, as soon as I returned from church with Rebecca, we all pitched in on decorating. That means Ray and I set the ornaments out, the girls put them on the tree. I'm responsible for the royal blinding electric blue and royal garish purple tinsel of course. Nothing tacky or over the top about granny.

I replaced last year's tree with one that included the lights. Ray usually does them but it's a lot of work and I remember he was tired last year by the time he figured out what worked and what didn't and finished it all. I don't think we'll try for outside lights this year unless someone young and tall shows up to volunteer. I'm much too short and Ray's balance is a little shaky on the best of days.

I assembled a Christmas playlist on Rhapsody, turned my computer speakers up enough to be heard in the living room, and we all managed to enjoy it. My taste in Christmas music, however, is not necessarily everyone else's . I started off with Pavarotti and Carreras followed by some really old standards of my generation and a little before.

Later this week we'll go back to the piano, Frosty, and Rudolph. Today was my turn.

Rebecca and I did the shelves, mantle, and piano together. She dusted and wiped down all the surfaces. That's colored water, not kerosense, in the hurricane lamp base. I have a matching green one on the other side. Don't know what happened to the globes. I'll replace them one of these days.

We shoveled out the living room and said enough for one day. Tomorrow we'll stash the empty boxes now in the kitchen somewhere and be done. Sort of.

I took her with me to the store and then over to visit with her Uncle Tim (and Aunt Melissa) at Barnes & Noble. The other girls were spending time with their mom.

And now I'm doing not much of anything except watching the Saints playing Dallas and leading so far. Carol didn't feel like company today. I'll get over there tomorrow which is when some of the decisions about transferring her (when and where) should be made. She had forgotten she wouldn't be coming home (so far as we know now) and, as people often do when they're medicated, was confused and hurt. I hugged her, told her I didn't want to upset her further and that I loved her. Then I left and sent the nurse in to explain it to her again as a professional.

Short post again. I woke up before 6 I think and it's been a long day.

Hi and welcome to former lurker and now visitor (and Blogging Baby friend) Mama Christy from Texas; the mom of an extremely cute little boy who has just learned how to wet the bed without actually "wetting" the bed.

And thanks again for all the comments and emails. We're doing okay and we've had a little time to adjust as much as anyone can. Not that it's easy; it isn't, but I can't crawl into a hole and pull it in after me. Life goes on and I'm trying to focus on that as much as I can.

So we trimmed a tree, we did some shopping and stopped for a treat, and I'm thinking about the holiday season and what's on my agenda for next week. It helps keep me sane, at least for now.

Love to all and take care. I have a few silly pictures involving cats and Rebecca for another post while Blogger is cooperating with pictures.

Friday, December 08, 2006

People to Thank

Most of you know my first experience with a blog of any type was at a place called Blogging Baby and that one of their writers who has since become my dear online friend, Jen Creer, set up this blog and gave it its name.

That Christmas meme that I talked about putting on here and never did? It's on Jen's blog Jen-o-rama (and several others) if you'd like to take a crack at it.

Jen emailed me last night to ask if it was okay to write a post on that blog (Blogging Baby) about me. I said yes, of course, and she did. It was beautiful and there's a link to it at the bottom of the post before this one. (Sunday. At least there was - it seems to be gone. Here it is - more for me so I can go back and read it without digging through archives.)

So many people have come over here or left a comment on Blogging Baby since then to offer their love, prayers, and support. I've tried to get back to most of them personally either by email or in their own comment boxes. It was a good way to spend part of my morning.

A few didn't have a URL or an email address. I tried to keep track. If I missed someone, I apologize. So - to Joe, Keri, Ginny, Lisa, Emily, Messed Up Mama (your comment link didn't work), LB, and Lex, thank you for the kindess you've shown to someone you've never met. As I told Jen, it means so much to all of us even as I was reading through tears.

To everyone else who came over and to my other visitors, the same. I know many of you have told me not to worry about replying but as long as I'm able, I like feeling the connection.

I'll try to get back with an update over the weekend and maybe even chat about something else for a change. I'm waiting for confirmation from Hospice; all the usual red tape was magically erased by social workers from heaven.

I saw Carol briefly today and have spoken with her twice on the phone. With the meds, she has a very small window of feeling like herself before the pain medication kicks in. We have short, good conversations which she may not remember but I will. She talked to Elcie as well, mostly about her pet rat which Elcie is babysitting faithfully. We'll put the other girls on the phone tomorrow and after she's moved we'll talk about a visit.

Meantime, the Santa parade is tomorrow afternoon and I plan to take the girls. My Tuesday coffee date friend has invited me for coffee tomorrow (yes I know it's Saturday) and I plan to go if I can. Tim and I had lunch yesterday after we went to the hospital and then went microwave shopping. My new one is smaller but plenty large enough for what I do. I don't do a lot of cooking in it but the girls use it for popcorn, quesadillas, Ramen noodles, and it does a wonderful job on veggies. I turn off my electric coffee maker and use the microwave to heat coffee.

And now it's time to figure out something simple for dinner. I'm thinking scrambled eggs and maybe some Brown & Serve sausage. Oh wait, that's breakfast. Breakfast is good.

Take care everyone. There aren't words to express how I feel about all of you.


Hello there all; Alice here (no, she wasn't kidding) to let you know what is, as far as I'm aware of, the latest regarding news.

Well, of course, things are not terrific. Hospice care has definitely been decided on for Carol, most if not all of the necessary paperwork has been filled out (thankfully by someone at the hospital, and not by Ann because what with everything else filling in reams of forms was REALLY not what she needed), Ann is physically and mentally exhausted, the whole family is of course distraught, and to top it all of yesterday morning her microwave exploded.

The good news is that Carol seemed a little better yesterday, even to the point of (encouraged by the doctors) taking a short walk to stretch her legs, and of course, Ann seems to be holding her own with her usual bravery and grace. In fact, when I spoke to her on the phone last night (my night, not hers) she seemed to be in remarkably good humour despite it all, and even had a giggle about the microwave.

You know, that woman amazes me. I mean, obviously in the scheme of things a broken microwave is pretty low down on the list of problems, but if that were me...considering everything else, that would've been the straw the break the cammel's back, and, well, lets just say the resulting scene of hysterics would have been ugly. Entertaining, perhaps, but still. Ugly.

Well, that's all I know, for now. But rest assured, as soon as I am made aware of any developments over the course of today, I will immediately log back in and relate them here.

Unless of course Ann takes one look at this post and tells me to hop it. In which case I will hop it and she will be back, so for those reading the situation is win win anyway.

So! Please forgive any typos, remember to keep Ann and her family in your prayers, and I'll keep you posted.

Alice x

* For those who didn't get the Mork & Mindy reference, don't worry about it. I'm weird, and it seemed appropriate at the time.

Alice is weird but wonderful. Thanks sweetie.


Thursday, December 07, 2006


Some of you already know this from email.

I spent much of yesterday afternoon at the hospital signing forms and permissions.

The oncologist has seen her, Hospice is involved. There is no good news.

It may be days, it may be weeks, but the outcome is almost certain. They could operate but it would provide very short term relief, even if successful, and in her weakened condition there is no guarantee she'd make it through surgery. She refused it which she has a right to do.

She also refused all further treatment except for palliative care/pain management. I agree and signed a DNR which may be one of the hardest decisions I've ever made.

If Hospice accepts her, she'll go from the hospital to Hospice inpatient care when/if she's stable enough to be transferred.

This is short but I wanted to answer all of you wonderful friends who have sent your love and support. It means so much.

My friend Alice (most of you will recognize her - she's in Kidderminster, England) may be posting for me if I'm not up to it. Right now, we're day to day. She and I talk on IM and the phone and it makes sense.

Meantime, we're going through the day-to-day stuff as best we can. I've talked to the girls and their school counselor and teachers.

Much love to you all. I appreciate hearing from you so much even if I can't get replies out to all.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

blinky smifilifigus

What a great name. Just thanking you for your kind words (and everyone else of course) since I don't have any other way to contact you.

I don't usually respond in the comment box because I'm not sure how many people actually go back once they've been there.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Elf Name

Thanks to Pea for this one.

You'll have to run your browser across the "white space" at the bottom to see how to get your Christmas Elf Name. I don't know why.

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

Not much has changed since I last wrote. Carol did see the oncologist today, the hospital forgot to call me. I have an idea what's happening but will wait to say much until I've talked to someone other than Carol.

She was fairly cheerful today, even when they came in to take blood and run more tests.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I wasn't going to update here until tomorrow but after my hopeful post of this afternoon I've been getting comments and emails which are becoming harder to answer. I don't think I can keep writing the same thing over and over and I hated the idea of pasting the same message into emails even more. I was faced with a choice of ignoring email and comments or dissembling. I'm not good at doing either one.

Hence this post.

Keep in mind that is premature and her condition may not be as bad as what I fear. I'll know more tomorrow or the next day but right now none of the news is good.

Carol called from the hospital a little after six. The girls' mom had taken them for a walk and had the phone with her. Rochelle answered. All she could manage to tell me as she came racing home with her mom and the other girls in tears right behind her was that Carol had called, she was crying, and she wanted me to come over right away. Rochelle thought she was dying and said so, over and over.

I located my grandson and we both went.

Here's part of what I wrote to one of my online friends who emailed me shortly after I arrived back home.

"I just got back from the hospital. Bottom line - no one has completely given up hope but the first surgeon (who performed her earlier surgery) doesn't think it's operable. They're bringing in an oncologist for a
second opinion and to "stage" the cancer which has indeed come back.

The nurse said if the oncologist thinks anything can be done, they
will try with another surgeon. If not, we'll start talking about end stage pain
management, hospice, etc.

By the time I got over there with her son (the girls' dad), she was
calmer. She's talking about hope which is a good thing. She
needs something to hang onto."

Right now she has a serious intestinal blockage along with some infection. With the blockage she won't be able to eat and if she can't eat she'll starve. That, of course, is the worst case scenario.

Since nothing could be worse than what Rochelle was already imagining and because I don't believe in lying to children old enough to understand, I spent quite a while tonight talking to them. If the worst happens, they need time to prepare. I told them that nothing was certain and that there is always hope. That doctors aren't always right and we needed to wait and see.

I didn't tell them everything would be fine. I don't know that and they'd never believe me again. As I said earlier, I don't dissemble well. They'd know if I never said a word. I must be strong enough for them right now and that means answering questions as honestly as I can.

I've talked to Tim too and I'll send a copy of this to Jim. He's working a night shift right now.

The nurse promised she'd call as soon as the doctor arrived tomorrow so I could be there to talk to him. Until then there's not much I can do except to put one foot in front of the next.

Thanks to all of you for the support and love for someone most of you have never met.

Back Again - One More Time

And in a much better frame of mind. Not much has changed but I've had a couple of days to get my act back together. I was putting off writing in the hopes I'd learn something new. Not so far.

I talked to Carol a few minutes ago. For the first time since she went in, she sounded a little like herself. They've been keeping her doped up most of the time and treating the various symptoms as they pop up. Still no diagnosis though and she looks awful. I tell myself people in hospital beds usually do.

Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers. I may not post everyday depending on what's happening but I'll try to update and stay in touch. I'll try not to be so much gloom and doom. It was a very bad day but the next was little better and the one after that. Your comments and email helped, especially when I was finally able read them.

I called Comcast on Thursday. At first they said it was network congestion and then said they'd send a technician out on Friday. He spent a couple of hours; first checking out cables and then my new modem (two weeks old) itself. Finally said the tests showed nothing wrong but obviously something was so he'd replace it for me - again.

I said if the second new modem didn't work we'd know it wasn't the modem. Evidently it was; this thing has run faster than I've ever seen it and I've always had Comcast. Amazing. Of course Blogger still drags sometimes but that's just Blogger being Blogger.

Somehow though he disabled "allow cookies" before he left. I called Comcast back and while they were searching for how to fix it, I found it myself. Whatever cookies are, they're crucial to access and they're back.

W're been doing what we usually do. I find it helps when I get into the doldrums. The girls (all 3) went roller-skating on Friday and have been having a good time most of the weekend. I did my first of month shopping and am thinking ahead to Christmas. We'll probably put our tree up next weekend. I'm a little cramped for space in the living room. Once I put the tree on the table, it eliminates one homework spot which I'd just cleared when we put the swamp cooler away for the winter. The girls have problems focusing when they all try to use the same table at the same time. I probably would too if I were trying to keep up with one set of numbers in my head while someone else was reciting the times table aloud.

I took Elcie with me for a little of the shopping. She'd been wanting i.d. tags for the cats. We now have them for 2 of them (expensive little things, the tags) with their name and phone number. Elcie created them herself with the Petsmart machine. Our oldest cat doesn't venture far from the yard and so far Moonbeam hasn't either. Spunky would probably hate a collar. Now I get to listen to Princess and Dipstick jingle as they play together.

I brought her home and went back out. Stopped at a thrift store on my way home and found half a dozen pretty, warm sweaters for Rochelle and Elcie, three jackets, and a sturdy raincoat for Elcie. She has one but it's too long. When she sits in her chair, she slides out with only her seat belt holding her in place. This one is better even if it doesn't cover her knees completely.

One of the jackets is an L. L. Bean without a mark on it. I spent about $22 dollars for everything and now at least two kids are in good shape for cold weather. I'll have to look further for Rebecca. She's one of those awkward sizes. She's small for her age and doesn't want to wear "baby" clothes. I'll look elsewhere tomorrow. She has several pretty sweatshirts and last year's jacket still fits so she won't freeze in the meantime.

I checked in on Carol briefly. She was quite groggy and I'm not sure if she remembers I was there although she opened her eyes and talked for a few minutes. I left as soon as I realized she needed the sleep much more than the company.

This morning, the New Orleans Saints ran all over the San Francisco Forty-Niners (American professional football). I was silently cheering the Saints on. My son and my grandson are both fans and I'm a sucker for the underdog. They're having a great year and are in playoff contention. We're not although this year was better than the last several have been. I told my son I have to admire a team which wears a lily on their helmets.

I like baseball much better than football but I subscribe to "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" school of philosophy. I know enough to follow the game and remember the names of the superstars.

Now I'm thinking about a nap.

Katie K at Bosphorus Ramblings has signed up for a new Forum/Message Board which looks remarkably simple. I don't usually do forums and such but I like this one. You can sign up and drop out at will with one post or a dozen. The best thing? We can edit our own comments. What a great idea!!

She wrote a post about our recently completed blogging marathon (see Yoda over on my side bar). She completed it successfully as did I (just barely if I count Tim's posts when my net went down) and she was interested in opinions both on the "forum" itself and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I left one (without having to register or anything), made a mistake, and went in and corrected it immediately. Sure beats having to leave a second comment to fix the first and I'm notorious for that.

Click on her name if you're interested in finding out more. She has a link to the Forum.

Hope all of you are surviving the snow and the cold snap. I was complaining about hovering around freezing at night until I read that Alberta was a nippy 30 or so below and that parts of Missouri had 1-1/2 feet of snow. On the other hand, Australia is beginning to enjoy the approach of summer although I heard they've experienced some storms.

Take care everyone. Think I'll try for that nap while the house is quiet and Ray is feeling well enough to keep up with the girls. Not much keeping up; they're all elsewhere with friends at the moment.

Friday, December 01, 2006

AIDS Candles

"Anonymous" left a comment (yesterday?) that the candle count was at 211,000. I bet it's more by now.

Impressive and thanks to all of you who responded so quickly.

I'm Back - Again

Another new modem has been installed. Third time's a charm. Except for Blogger, it's running faster than ever before.

Sorry I sounded so down yesterday. I've had better days.

Carol is still in the hospital. She hasn't wanted to see anyone but I'll go over today regardless. Maybe I can at least talk to someone. She says they may or may not schedule surgery for her.

And this is short because now I'm going to try to catch up on reading the email that's piled up. I'll probably zap most of the news stuff and catch back up tomorrow.

I'll be back.